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From South Carolina, USA:

How does someone who works a swing shift adjust his diet and insulin to stay in good control?


It's tough to do. Swing shifts, where you work one shift for a short while, then rotate to another shift, are among the hardest employment situations to deal with. It can be done, but it's a lot of work!

My advice would be to plan on 6 or more blood sugars per day until you get used to the shift, then 4 or more tests thereafter. Using an insulin pump would make it much easier (for instance, meal timing wouldn't be anywhere near as critical if you're on a pump). Obviously, it will take a lot of motivation and a lot of coaching from your diabetes team to assure that you stay in reasonable control, without hypoglycemia or severe hyperglycemia, when each new shift starts.

In many circumstances, it's wiser to avoid these swing-shifts. I've written notes for my patients to take to their employers, requesting a switch from the swing-shift system to a stable shift (either day, evening, or night shift) which are more consistent and much easier to manage.


Original posting 9 Aug 1998
Posted to Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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